Category Archives: Events and Competitions

SPANISH FLASH FICTION 2022: The Winners

We’re delighted to publish the winning and runner-up entries for this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition. We’ll be publishing the highly commended entries for both French and Spanish over the coming weeks.

Thank you and well done to everyone who entered. The Spanish judging panel commented the following about all the entries we received this year:

It was a pleasure to read such a fantastic range of short stories for this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition, and we would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry. We were particularly impressed with the level of creativity and storytelling skill on display and choosing just twelve winning entries was really challenging. Our winners, runners-up and highly commended entries stood out to us for their innovative angles or perspectives, their interesting reflections, engaging style and, in some cases, for the expertly developed twists in the tale!

Without further ado, here are the stories! We hope you enjoy reading them as much as the judges did.

YEARS 7-11

WINNER :

Photo by Amelia Barklid on Unsplash

Salvavidas

Me debatía a ciegas, luchando con el oleaje implacable que estallaba sobre mí. El mar, aplastándome sin el más mínimo matiz de clemencia, me iba arrastrando a tirones cada vez más dentro del abismo, y me entraron ganas de gritar. Las palabras, sin embargo, no tenían más sentido
que el borboteo de las burbujas arremolinándose a mi alrededor.

Pero a través de la marejada, de repente, emergió una voz. Un susurro que logró amortiguar la tormenta. Un hilo de esperanza. Una luz. Me rogaba que nadara hacia el salvavidas, y despacio, dejándome guiar por la voz…

Me bajé del alféizar.

Leila Zak, Year 11

RUNNER UP:

Ella

Photo by Inga Gezalian on Unsplash

Paso mi vida bailando en sus sombras, respirando su éxito, viviendo en sus debilidades. Sus pensamientos se derraman sobre los míos; un deslizamiento de irracionalidad. Sus emociones caen sobre las páginas de mis sueños.

No he tenido más remedio que mirar mientras sus dudas toman el control de mi mente y la furia se arremolina en los pozos más profundos de la insoportabilidad.

Mirándola ahora, mis sentimientos no se calman. Su identidad es como una enfermedad. La ira aumenta una vez más, las voces me rodean, pero no puedo hacer nada. Porque si lo hiciera, rompería el espejo.

Raffaella O’Callaghan, Year 10

YEARS 12-13

WINNER :

Photo by Kamil Feczko on Unsplash

La Caja Negra

El agua era una mano fría agarrando mi boca, asfixiándome, extinguiendo mi voz. Un silencio atronador. Dulces olas y brutal presión: se interponen entre vosotros y yo. 

Contengo la verdad. Esa que devora la carne de adentro hacia afuera, como si fuera un parásito. Contengo conversaciones importantes, no simplemente saludos y despedidas, sino un remolino de miedo y angustia y catástrofe. Contengo corazones golpeando pechos, latiendo a un ritmo incontrolable. Un sentimiento indescriptible. Contengo promesas incumplidas, pensamientos en voz alta, esperanzas truncadas. Uñas clavándose en las palmas de las manos, sangre agolpándose en los oídos.

Debéis buscarme. Tenéis que encontrarme.

Emilia Roy, Year 12

RUNNER UP:

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Espoleo a mi torbellino blanco. Mi vestido es la onda, su piel es la cresta. Juntos rugimos a través de la sequidad infinita, con la meta de lograr lo que nadie ha conseguido antes: capturar al sol. El intruso nos ha dificultado la vida bastante. Ya puedo distinguir el disco ardiente ante el cielo jóven dispuesto a relevar la luna. Pero no voy a dejarla. Estiro mi mano. Es como si toque el tizonazo. Ella quiere salir pero ya no es posible. Un picado, chispas y luego parece que el mundo suspira por primera vez en años. Somos libres.

Karolin Rendelmann, Year 12

¡Felicidades a todos los ganadores!

FRENCH FLASH FICTION 2022: The Winners

We’re delighted to publish the winning and runner-up entries for this year’s French Flash Fiction competition. We’ll be publishing the winning entries for Spanish, as well as the highly commended entries for both languages over the coming weeks.

Thank you and well done to everyone who entered. On behalf of the French judging panel, Dr Emily McLaughlin commented the following about all the entries we received this year:

We have really enjoyed reading the entries for our 2022 Flash Fiction competition. Thank you to everyone who entered and well done for producing such creative and inspiring texts in a foreign language. 

We have been incredibly impressed by what you’ve been able to do with 100 words. In very quick succession, we found ourselves being frightened, amused, touched, and intrigued. There were anecdotes from your everyday lives, flights of fancy transporting us to other worlds, and reflections on serious events going on in the world at large. We read about French class, school friends, dreams, fears, love, lockdown, sport, divorce, old age, immigration, and war. But we also met fridge-raiding gnomes, chess-playing ghosts, talking chickens, and dancing cows. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun reading them all. 

Without further ado, here are the stories! We hope you enjoy reading them as much as the judges did.

YEARS 7-11

WINNER :

Photo by Jannet Serhan on Unsplash

L’horloge lentement….tick….tick…..tick… sur le mur.

Mon temps est compté. Coronavirus se propage dans mon corps comme les racines d’un rosier. Tick…tick…tick.. les fleurs éclatent à travers les fissures de l’horloge, déchirant les mains du temps. Les roses grandissent hors des planchers et se cramponnent à mon corps. Les épines mordent dans ma peau me déchirant violemment. Et les vignes s’enroulent  autour moi et asphyxient mes poumons. Et pourtant, je suis tout seul. Personne n’est là pour s’occuper de moi, sur mon lit de mort. Enfin, je me niche dans les pétales des fleurs. Leur odeur douce maladive me surmonte.

Mahdiya Gul, Year 10

RUNNER UP:

Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash

La Pêche Perdue

Toto se rendait à l’école un matin, plein de joie de vivre ! ll était ravi de revoir ses amis après le week-end.  Quand il arriva, son professeur dit « Bon Dieu Toto ! Vous avez la pêche ! » Toto, confus, s’assit à son bureau.  À la récréation, il chercha la pêche. Ayant sans succès vérifié son sac, son manteau, ses poches et sa trousse, Toto commençait à s’inquiéter.  Finalement, il se tourna vers l’un de ses amis et lui dit « Luc ! Je crois que j’ai perdu la pêche !  » Luc lui a donné la sienne.

Elsa Rea, Year 9

YEARS 12-13

WINNER :

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

2075

Jack a juré comme des étincelles brûlaient ses mains, illuminant le garage. “C’est 2075 pourquoi ne peut-il pas le Tesla se réparer, le …” avant d’être coupé par plus d’étincelles.

Il a regardé l’ordinateur. Pourquoi la voiture ne se réparerait-elle pas toute seule? La technologie d’auto réparation a existé depuis 10 ans et les ingénieurs avaient perdu des affaires depuis. “J’ai besoin de cet argent pour payer mon loyer. Pour l’amour de Dieu, s’il vous plaît, réparez-vous cette fois!”

“Bien sûr,” dit l’ordinateur.

“Bien sûr,” il avait oublié le mot magique. Il avait oublié de dire s’il vous plaît.

Devon Chandler, Year 12

RUNNER UP:

Photo by Rachel Cook on Unsplash

Vagues de souvenir

La lettre que mon papi m’a donnée m’a conduite ici, où les vagues atteignent leurs destinations avec des éclaboussements assourdissants, et où les vibrations du sable me chuchotent ses secrets.

Le vent frais fera apparaître le rose sur mes joues et l’odeur du sel me revigorera. Au lointain, j’entendrai des voix de joie contagieuse et je verrai un enfant ébloui par la texture du sable mouillé. C’est ici que mon papi restera éternellement, à côté de cette immense masse bleue. Je lui souhaiterai un bon voyage, en plaçant ses cendres doucement dans la mer où tout a commencé.

Maia Forbes, Year 12

Félicitations à tous nos gagnants!

German Classic Prize & Conference

The Oxford German Network (OGN) are delighted to make two exciting announcements: firstly, the 2022 German Classic Prize is now open for entries! Secondly, the OGN will also be running a new Classic Conference for Year 12 students this year – see below for further details!

‘A German Classic’ Prize 2022

1st Prize: £500     2nd Prize: £300     3rd Prize: £100

Deadline: Wednesday 14 September 2022, 12 noon

2022 marks the sixth round of ‘A German Classic’ – our essay competition for sixth-form students! This year we would like to invite you to read with us Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s captivating story Die Judenbuche published in 1842.

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, often called Droste by friends and family, was one of the most influential German-speaking female authors of the 19th century. Her work Die Judenbuche is sometimes considered to be the first murder mystery, containing elements of a crime thriller and gothic novel. Filled with plot twists, Doppelgänger, grisly murders, and red herrings, Die Judenbuche explores how human nature is shaped and (de)formed, confronting us with existential questions of good and evil and all the greyscales in between.

Over the coming weeks, we will release further resources and provide insights into the text and its author on our webpage (where you can find more information and resources) and via Twitter. Together we will explore the text, discussing topics ranging from uncanny Doppelgängers, deadly curses, and 18th-century slavery, showing you the enduring relevance of this 19th-century text.

For all details about eligibility, study packs, essay questions, submission, judging criteria, and more, see here.

We encourage all students interested in entering the competition to email their UK correspondence address to the Prize Coordinator (Natascha Domeisen: germanclassic@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk) by 12 noon on 25 June to receive a free study pack. 

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German Classic Conference 2022

Tuesday 21 June 2022 | Jesus College, Oxford, Ship Street Centre

Jesus College, photo by John Cairns, taken from the Jesus College website

We are delighted to announce the launch of the first German Classic Conference for Year 12 students on the topic of Die Judenbuche by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. This half-day conference will provide insights into the text, its key themes and translations in brief lectures and undergraduate-led discussions. There will also be a tour of Jesus College and the Fellows’ Library with the opportunity to enjoy some German treasures of the Jesus College collection. We are looking forward to exploring this German Classic with you!

Programme
11.45 – 12.25    Registration and Lunch
12.30 – 13.10    Introduction to Die Judenbuche (short lectures and Q&A)
13.15 – 14.00    Lost in Translation? Die Judenbuche in German and English
14.05 – 14.40    Tour of Jesus College and Fellows’ Library
14.45 – 15.15    Group Discussion of key themes with undergraduates
15.15 – 15.45    ‘More than a Whodunnit?’ Undergraduate Panel Discussion with Q&A
15.45 – 16.15    Tea and Departure

To download the programme as a PDF, please click here.

To register, please fill out this registration form and email it to the German Classic Prize Coordinator, Natascha Domeisen (germanclassic@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk) by noon on 10 June 2022.

Please note: Attendance at the conference is not a condition of entering the German Classic Prize competition 2022. More details about the Conference (including specifics about entry requirements, travel costs and accommodation) can be found here.

Flash Fiction results 2022

In December 2021, we launched our annual Flash Fiction competitions, which closed at the end of March. The competition was open to students in Years 7 to 13, who were tasked with writing a short story of no more than 100 words in French and/or Spanish.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

We had an incredible response, with entries coming in from the UK and beyond! In total, we received over 1350 submissions across the two languages!

The judges were very impressed with the quality of the entries. We would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and commend you all for your hard work and creativity in writing a piece of fiction in a different language. This is a challenging exercise, and a significant achievement – congratulations all!

We are delighted to be able to announce the winners, runners up and highly commended entries in this week’s blog post.

French

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Mahdiya Gul in Year 10. The runner-up is Elsa Rea in Year 9.

The judges also highly commended Sara Bjelanovic, Steph Harper, Khalen Kumarapperuma Arachchige, Archie Lewis, Saba Sabir, Chaitanya Sapra, Heba Shahzad, Anna Skrypina, Gabriella Sweeney, and Lulu Wills.

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Devon Chandler in Year 12. The runner-up is Maia Forbes in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Rose Bourdier, Ellen Burton, Jasmine Channa, Charlie Cross, Sascha Entwistle, Lucy Fan, Carmen Gessell, Thomas Hilditch, Betina Tello Peirce and Harriet Tyler.

Spanish

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Leila Zak in Year 11. The runner up is Raffaella O’Callaghan in Year 10.

The judges also highly commended Sofia Smith, Isabella Rickard, Roxy Cole, Poppy Rhodes, Reema Hindocha, Julia Chermanowicz, Lilia Perry, Ayesha Nusrath, Caitlin McGowan, Pragvansh Bhatt.  

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Emilia Roy in Year 12. The runner up is Karolin Rendelmann in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Adam Noad, Nicole Puhr, Toni Agbede, Polly O’Sullivan, Daria Pershina, Aarav Ganguli, Marina Michelli-Marsden, Libby Rock, Anna Couzens, Matilda Lawson.

Félicitations! / ¡Felicidades! If anyone is curious to read the winning stories, we will be publishing them in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to our winners, once again!

Oxford Is Open!

Come and visit us this summer to discover what student life at Oxford is really like.

After two years of online open days, Oxford is once again ready to welcome prospective applicants and their companions! Regardless of which universities you are interested in studying at, open days are an important opportunity for you to get a feel for the cities and/or campuses in which you might be spending three of four years. We recommend visiting lots of different universities if you can to find out which places make you feel most at home.

Here at Oxford, we have University-wide Open Days running on Wednesday 29 June, Thursday 30 June and Friday 16 September. These days offer an ideal opportunity for you to explore Oxford, find out more about our courses, tour colleges and quiz our tutors and current students.

It will be busy and you will probably leave feeling that there just wasn’t enough time, but you will also have a really good idea of Oxford and whether it might be the university for you. The secret to open days is definitely planning, so do explore all the information given here.

It is not mandatory to register for an Oxford Open Day, although we strongly recommend that you do in order to receive our university newsletters, full of top tips on how to make the most of your day.

The Taylor Institution Library (commonly known as the Taylorian) 

In terms of Modern Languages, we will be running sessions across these days in the Taylor Institution Librarybetween 10:30am and 3:30pm. These will be a great opportunity to learn about our Modern Languages courses, talk to our tutors from our different languages, tour the Taylorian, and pick up prospectuses.

We do not take bookings for these sessions, but places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. You can take a look at the programme here for more details.

We look forward to welcoming lots of you to Oxford and the Modern Languages Faculty very soon!

The Stephen Spender Prize 2022

The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, in association with The Guardian, is now open for entries. Anybody in the UK and Ireland can enter, regardless of age or linguistic skill. The Stephen Spender Trust’s (SST) Resources hub is full of virtual resources to make the prize accessible from home, as well as teaching packs to bring poetry translation into the classroom.

This year, the prize is more inclusive and vibrant than ever, from British Sign Language translation to new prizes for first-time entrants. SST’s virtual poetry booklets collect together poems in more than 17 languages.

SST Director Charlotte Ryland:

“Poetry translation is a perfect activity for these challenging times: it is a gentle and structured approach to creativity, without the intimidating blank page that can put off many would-be poets; it is an opportunity for parents and children to work together, in particular in families where more than one language is spoken; and it is a task that can be shared with peers and teachers.”

This year’s judges are acclaimed poets, translators and educators Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee.

Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee

Closing date: 15 July 2022

  • Categories: Open (adult), 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under
  • Top prize of £1,000
  • All winning entries published in the 2022 Stephen Spender Prize booklet
  • Special ‘Spotlight’ prize for translation from Romanian, judged by Gabi Reigh

Full details on the SST website. Good luck to all participants!

We’re Back!

We hope you all had a restful break with family and friends over the last couple of weeks, whether you were observing religious traditions or hunting for chocolate in the garden (or both!)

Here at Oxford, Trinity term is already underway and it looks to be another busy one, albeit much sunnier than the last!

To ease us back into the new term, here are a few exciting events and opportunities to get involved in over the next couple of weeks!

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Modern Languages Subject Day – Tuesday 10th May, Exeter College

If you are a Year 11 or 12 student who is interested in exploring your options for University, then this day is perfect for you! This Subject Day will include opportunities to experience sessions in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. 

To register for your place, please fill out this form, which should take around 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The deadline to apply is Tuesday 3rd May at 9am.

If you have any questions, please contact outreach@exeter.ox.ac.uk.

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Songs We Learn From Trees – Thursday 5th May, The Queen’s College

On Thursday 5th May, at 4:30-8pm, the Queen’s Translation Exchange are running an in-person workshop and readings based on Songs We Learn from Trees, the first anthology of Amharic poetry in English.

Sign up here to attend!

Sign up for free here to discuss and celebrate Ethiopian poetry in an evening of readings by Ethiopian poets and their translator, followed by a drinks reception.

The event will feature the following poets:

  • Misrak Terefe
  • Bedilu Wakjira
  • Kebedech Tekleab
  • Alemu Tebeje
  • Hama Tuma [virtually]
  • Mihret Kibede [virtually]

with translator and anthology editor, Chris Beckett.

The poets will read from their own and other poets’ work in the anthology, as well as answer any questions the audience may have about the thriving poetry scene in Addis Ababa.

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Modern Languages Open Day – Saturday 7th May, Examination Schools

There’s still a week left to sign up to attend our in-person Open Day at the Examination Schools, here in Oxford.

The Open Day will offer an overview of our modern languages courses and a general Q&A for prospective students in the morning, with individual language sessions and a companions’ Q&A session occurring in the afternoon. Academics, current students and members of staff from the Faculty will all be in attendance to answer your questions and give invaluable insight into studying languages at Oxford. You can view the full event programme here.

Please note that booking for this event is compulsory – you can register your attendance here

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Modern Languages Summer School – 15th-19th August, Wadham College

Wadham’s annual Summer School programme is an excellent opportunity for Year 12 state school pupils to be an Oxford languages student for a week.

Students on Wadham’s Modern Languages Summer School, taken from Wadham College’s website

Throughout the week, pupils will take part in an academic programme, live in College, meet student ambassadors studying at Oxford, and receive information, advice and guidance on applying to university. 

The Summer School is completely free and Wadham will provide financial support to pupils to cover any travel costs.

You can find out more information and the application form here. Applications are currently open and the deadline to submit is Friday 3rd June at 5pm.

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Faculty Open Day Reminder

It’s not too late to register your place at our Modern Languages Open Day at the beautiful Examination Schools (75 – 81 High St, Oxford OX1 4BG) on Saturday 7th May!

We’re so excited to be able to hold this event in person again and to welcome prospective students and their families/teachers to Oxford after two long years, and can’t wait to see as many of you there as possible!

The Voltaire Reading Room in the Taylor Institution, the University’s centre for the study of Modern European languages and literatures

As a reminder, our Modern Languages Open Day will cover ALL nine of the languages we offer here at Oxford: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Modern Greek, Czech, and Polish. Most of our Joint School degree subjects will also be represented. The event is aimed primarily at Year 12 students and their parents/guardians/teachers, but Year 11 students who are starting to consider their options are equally welcome to attend.

The Open Day will offer an overview of our Modern Languages courses and a general Q&A for prospective students in the morning, with individual language sessions and a companions’ Q&A session occurring in the afternoon. Academics, current students and members of staff from the Faculty will all be in attendance to answer your questions and give invaluable insight into studying Languages at Oxford.

You can view the full event programme here.

Please note that booking for this event is compulsory – you can register your attendance here. Due to restricted places, only one parent/guardian/teacher may accompany each student for the morning session.

We look forward to seeing lots of you soon!

Modern Languages Summer School

Calling all Year 12 French, German and Spanish students from UK state schools – an exciting opportunity awaits!

Wadham College are running their annual Modern Languages Summer School in Oxford from Monday 15th August to Friday 19th August 2022. This is a wonderful opportunity for Year 12 students who are interested in pursuing a degree in Languages to get a feel for life at university and at Oxford more specifically.

Throughout the week, pupils will take part in an academic programme, live in College, meet student ambassadors studying at Oxford, and receive information, advice and guidance on applying to university. 

This Summer School is completely free and Wadham will provide financial support to pupils to cover any travel costs.

Students on Wadham’s Modern Languages Summer School, taken from Wadham College’s website

In terms of the academic programme, pupils will engage in a seminar series led by Wadham’s language tutors, including language classes in their selected language of study (French, German or Spanish) with opportunities to try other languages as beginners (including German, Portuguese and Russian).  They will also complete an assignment on a main topic with feedback from tutors.  Pupils will also be able to receive support from current undergraduates and from the College on making successful applications to top universities.

Students talking to a Wadham Student Ambassador, taken from Wadham College’s website

Wadham are delighted to be able to run this Summer School event in-person, allowing participants the best experience of life at the university. The feedback from last year’s Summer Schools was hugely positive with a third of participants subsequently securing offers to study at the university.

You can find out more information and the application form here. Applications are currently open and the deadline to submit is Friday 3rd June at 5pm.

Don’t miss out on the chance to be an Oxford student for a week!

Last Chance to Enter our Flash Fiction Competitions!

With just over one week to go until the deadline, there’s still a chance to enter our Flash Fiction Competitions in French and/or Spanish – don’t miss out on your chance to win £100! A reminder of the competition details and how you can enter can be found below…

What is Flash Fiction?

We’re looking for a complete story, written in French or Spanish, using NO MORE THAN 100 WORDS.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

What are the judges looking for?

We’ll be looking for imagination and narrative flair, as well as your ability to write in French or Spanish. Your use of French or Spanish will be considered in the context of your age and year group: in other words, we will not expect younger pupils to compete against older pupils linguistically. For inspiration, you can read last year’s winning entries for French here, and for Spanish here.

What do I win?

There are two categories: Years 7-11 and Years 12-13. A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning entry in each category, with runner-up prizes of £25. The winning entries will be published on this blog, if you give us permission to do so.

How do I enter?

The deadline for submissions is noon on Thursday 31st March 2022. If you would like to submit a story in French, please do so via our online submission portal here. If you would like to submit a story in Spanish, please do so here.

You may only submit one story per language but you are welcome to submit one story in French AND one story in Spanish if you would like to. Your submission should be uploaded as a Word document or PDF.

Please note that, because of GDPR, teachers cannot enter on their students’ behalf: students must submit their entries themselves.

If you have any questions, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.

Bonne chance à tous! ¡Buena suerte a todos!